- Learn to breath. Start with complete full breaths and then you can play with extending the length of your inhale and exhale. One great way to expand the diaphragm (and increase your ability to project) is to inhale as deeply as possible and exhale for twice the amount of time you spent inhaling. Breathing helps with stage presence, stress and stage fright.
- Support your fellow actors. Making your peers look and feel good will cultivate community, improve the show and ultimately bring out your best. Nobody likes a scene-stealer or a prima dona. Chemistry within the cast is one of the primary indicators of a successful show
- Practice! Practice! Practice! The more you speak your lines out loud and move your body the better you will get. (Scroll down for more tips on how to memorize.)
- Be willing to "look the fool." If you're afraid of looking silly, you are in your ego. You are not your role. A true actor does whatever is required of the character to make it the most engaging role possible. Remember you are not your character, and you cannot be fully expressed if you're holding back.
- Don't fling your body around randomly when you act. Outstretched arms and excessive gesticulation is a sure sign of an armature. Channel that distracting energy into your voice, eyes, and characterization. Be strong and still so the energy is projected to the audience, not haphazardly about the stage.
- If you forget a line: stay calm and always remember to stay in character. Breaking character during a performance is theatrical suicide. Ask yourself what would your character do in this situation, or how would they respond? Eventually you will recognize your cue and the lines will come back. Plan B, in worse case scenario is to skip ahead to a line that you remember.
- Hold for laughs. If you or one of your cast mates induces chuckles from the crowd, be sure to pause a little until they quiet down; this way your lines don't get lost in the sea of noise. Do not laugh, no matter how much laughter you get from the audience, Stay in Character.
- Do your scene work. Ask yourself the 3 Ws or basic questions about your role:Who am I? Where am I? What do I want? Fill in all character activity not provided in the text. (Where does he go when he exits? What he was doing before entering the stage?)
- Use Creative visualization. Imagine your character's phycial appearance and run them through your mind until it become second nature. Visualization is a secret shared by all successful athletes, performers, and leaders. Visualization is mentally picturing yourself successfully performing in the play. Spend time each day imagining your ideal performance. Relax and go through all your senses and notice what you imagine seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, even smelling, within the world of the play. Breathe deeply and easily as you imagine your success into reality.
- Be professional and prepared. Show up early or on time, will give you the necessary warm up time and, mental peace that you need to perform at your best. Know your script. Read, re-read and then read again. (Especially at night before bed, this is the most effective time to read and dream about your script.) From this foundation you can go on to identify the reason for your lines, (Subtext) this will add depth to your lines and make remembering easier. (Scroll down for more tips on memorization.
Top 5 Memorization Tips:
All the preparation in the world is useless if you don’t know your lines!
You can’t really begin to act at all, or to develop your character, until you have your lines (off book). So the sooner you get started the better. The process of memorization boils down to one thing: Repetition. There are several different tips which, when practiced in repetition will lead to success:
1. Memorization takes conscientious work night after night. (I recommend you do it right before bed and visualize a perfect performance.)
2. Be sure to say your lines out loud in each of these methods. You can’t merely reproduce the words: you have to speak them into birth. Try recording your monologues or lines in a tape recorder or MP3 player and play it back while your driving around or before going to bed. I recommend you record them in a monotone voice so that when you repeat it back you can try different inflections. Don’t fall into inflection patterns too early on. Setting inflections too soon often prevents the scene from growing and changing as you discover more things about it. Your director may have input that will change what you thought the line meant, or how you need to respond.
3. By focusing on the motivation behind the words and WHY you would say them, you not only add depth, but you can memorize your lines easier and they make more sense in the context of the play as a whole.
4. Beats. Large chunks of text can be broken into smaller sections, called "beats," to make memorizing easier. Each beat may have a specific theme: for example, the actor may be manipulative in one beat, and pleading in the next.
5. Add in the movement as soon as you have the blocking: this will help you link the sense
of the word to the action and to the environment. And you optimize your body memory and it helps you remember your text.
Remember that if you get your lines and movements memorized in your nervous system, it opens you up to be more present and alive when onstage. Have Fun!